Date: Wed Aug 12 1998 - 14:07:49 EDT
clayton stirling bartholomew wrote:
> In the Iliad I keep running into things that upset the tidy little system I
> have developed for analyzing Greek syntax. A recent example is the sentence
> adverb. This is an adverb which modifies a sentence rather than some
> particular word.
I would like to see the example from the Iliad.
Great epic poetry does seem to have a way of confounding our
syntactical schemes for understanding sentences, where evocation of
the imagination of the listener holds the intent of the verse. Words
become sparks that light a fire in the imaginative mind, where events
are lived in a way that mocks the lesser rules of grammar and syntax,
because the listener provides what text omits, and what is not said is
as important as what is said...
> I don't like sentence adverbs, they don't diagram well. Do we really have to
> accept the existence of sentence adverbs or can we relegate them to the status
> of UFO's.
Well, diagramming what a listener is 'supposed' to imagine in a great
tale can be a treacherous undertaking [pun noticed], and part of the
value of letting words open indefinitely is the capacity to invite
thinking. I finished my college without ever reading the Iliad, and
when I finally did read it several years later, it dawned on me that
the whole structure of the Attic thinkers I had been studying was a
response to it... Why Plato defines virtue as knowledge is but one
example... Homer's work is seminal... Not definitive ~ So I would
imagine that his sentences don't diagram all that well... Some words
open doors ~ Others are 'last words' that end matters ~ The difference
between poetry and leggo instructions, eh?
> I have a regrettable habit of trying to connect adverbials (functional
> category) and adjectivals (another functional category) to a particular
> nominal (functional category) or verbal (functional category). The idea of
> sentence adverbs really throws a monkey wrench in all of this. Do I need to
> scrap everything and start over?
No need, imho ~ Simply accept the Homeric gift... And read the rest
according to itself.
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